1. Being the center of attention can be extremely cool, fun, rewarding, and invigorating.
When you are at the open mic and you are performing for a group of people at your local club you become something that you were not before. You become your best person and you become filled with confidence. When you are performing hot pieces of poetry at the slam competition you become peaceful and serene and you fall in love with the idea that people are really listening to you.
2. That being yourself and speaking your piece is so therapeutic.
It does not hurt to speak from the depths of your heart and to fasten yourself to a thought that you can then share with the world at large. When you are performing your writing that you crafted yourself, that is your moment to shine.
3. How to not care what the audience thinks.
I was booed a couple times for my work and I learned it does not hurt to express yourself in a way that people object to. Because as some people were booing me, others people were cheering. It’s chaos at an open mic but you learn to cultivate a new form of energy and inspiration that you never knew before.
4. Go to enough shows, and you’ll get a glimpse into the entertainment industry.
If you spend time at a solid show that brings in dozens if not hundreds of people over the months, you start to get a pretty good understanding of how the entertainment industry works and then once you have that understanding, you can see through the “celebrity” hype. There is a lot of posturing that goes into celebrity and performing at an open mic helps you care a lot less about what’s being reported on TMZ and Entertainment Tonight, drawing you instead to your community.
5. You learn the business and how to handle transactions and freeloaders.
You learn doorman skills at an open mic. You learn that if you do not take the money from their hands they will try and get to the show without paying. You learn that most people are cool about paying but some people feel that they should have some special privileges and it’s these who cause the most problems. Performers make the show and the audience participates by paying to be entertained. That’s the deal. It pays to remember that at that door.
6. That amazing, long-lasting friendships can be fostered at community driven open mics.
You meet some amazing people at open mics — people who have their own voices and facets to their personalities. It’s invigorating to walk in and never know what you are going to hear at an open mic. It fosters this great sense of camaraderie that just cannot be found anywhere else.
7. How silly it is that your local church never had an open mic.
I will never understand why the local church that I was raised in never had an open mic. It seems fair to let the community speak to the community than to have the same person give a sermon every week. The open mic ceremony — while much maligned — is a more balanced ceremony for society than the leader-driven church model most people are familiar with. The world would be a much better, more self-assured place if more people spent time performing in front of an audience.